Minister Katz with Arutz Sheva reporter Yoni Kempinksy
Minister Katz with Arutz Sheva reporter Yoni Kempinksyצילום: ישראל ברדוגו

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said in an interview with Arutz Sheva that Israel is already engaged in discussions with the Trump Administration regarding construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the announcements of new construction.

"The construction in the settlements is the most urgent issue at the moment," Minister Katz said. The discussion with the administration is about building within the settlements and construction within the municipal jurisdiction of the settlements. Our position is to allow construction within the jurisdiction of the settlements in the coming years. This will allow us to reach a hundred thousand units, and this will be ten percent of the scope of the built-up area, which today is [only] two to three percent."

He said: "We can build in the coming years without further [outside] interference. Once we define the matter they won't interfere in our affairs. The settlements will be able to flourish and develop, as well as the construction in Jerusalem."

Katz added that "the important thing right now is to strengthen Jerusalem and the settlements in Judea and Samaria. A decade ago I initiated a law for Greater Jerusalem to attach Ma'aleh Adumim, Givat Zeev, Betar Illit, and Gush Etzion to Jerusalem, to apply Israeli sovereignty and to attach them to Jerusalem with municipal independence."

Addressing the meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump this Wednesday, Katz said: "It is clear that the positions of the new administration have changed [from the previous administration]. First of all, with regard to Iran, the rules of the game have been changed. [President Trump] has also pledged to protect Israel against all [biased] decisions by international organizations. Without the US there is no chance we get that [protection]. The new president also added Iran back to the 'axis of evil' and is enabling cooperation [against Iran]. The new administration has also stated that Israel is its primary ally in the region. These three things will allow the construction of a new defense base in the region."

He rejected the creation of a new Arab state in Judea and Samaria as a threat to the security of the State of Israel. "I reject a Palestinian state in principle as a violation of human rights - and I endorse the position of [former Prime Minister Menachem] Begin, who said that a Palestinian state in the heart of our country would be an existential threat to Israel in the long term. They will never accept our existence, and the stronger they are the more they will threaten the State of Israel."

"It is clear to everyone today that the issue of a Palestinian state is not on the agenda and is not realistic. Even the leader of the Opposition recently stated that the establishment of a Palestinian state is not feasible. I know about talks with the US and the messages which we pass along to them, and we tell them the same things. There is no chance for them to set up a Palestinian state."